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The debate over the Valley Warriors name/logo will undoubtedly put neighbors, friends, and perhaps even relatives at odds. There will certainly be impassioned pleas on both sides of the issue. Yet, it is my belief that the views of Valley families past and present must be put aside in favor of the constituency most impacted by this decision: Native people. In which case, Native communities have been clear that they are unilaterally opposed to mascoting and other forms of misappropriation.
Even a cursory review of the Native position should confirm that this is not a matter of being politically correct, rather a matter of correcting an injustice. It is not a matter of dishonoring our tradition, rather honoring the dignity of all people. It will not be a case of losing our identity, rather allowing Native people to reclaim theirs. Thus, in my view, the debate is not about whether or not to keep the Indian head logo, but rather whether to keep the name without a logo or to keep the name and adopt a different logo (Revolutionary, Union, or World War II solider, or some other heroic figure, like fireman/woman?
I have no doubt that if as a community there is overwhelming affinity for the name, we have the ingenuity and creativity to design a mutually agreeable alternative symbol, or can select a new, non-offending name and corresponding logo. Whichever way we choose to go, it will be but a small step in a much-needed process of truth and reconciliation with Native communities.
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